Thursday, May 31, 2007

More pictures....

Me with all my birr!!!

Pictures from my hotel room. If you could hear the sounds, you would hear dogs barking, people yelling, cars honking, and every once and awhile a whistle blowing....

Some pictures from the trip..

This is our huge plane. It was so big and really nice. Even had an upstairs!! Hopefully we have one like that on the way home so Durant can walk around.

This is me with Christi and Brian... A CWA couple.. we are waiting at the airport in Frankfurt!

Hi from Africa.... again....

I had a pretty good night's sleep last night! I'm really looking forward to going shopping in a few hours. We hired a really great driver and he will be picking us up at the Hilton at 11am! I have so much I want to buy!!! I can't wait.
Right now the weather is beautiful and cool. It's supposed to be sunny and 75 today!
The streets of Addis are very interesting. There are people everywhere. And the driving is insane!! Our driver had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting a herd of goats!! And people just dart out in traffic at any given moment!! I asked our driver if the driving every makes him get angry and he just laughed!!
The begging from people is very hard to handle. There are so many in need and these absolutely adorable children come up to your window wanting money and even start singing about Jesus. Little kids younger than carter, just walking around without shoes and with only a large man's t'shirt on. I couldn't handle it and started crying (doesn't help that I was very tired)!!! Not just because that is their life, but because there are so many people that I just can't help them all. It's hard to help some and not others. I'm going to try to help as many as I can with meal tickets and bars I hand out, but it hardly seems like it makes any difference.
My driver saw that I was crying and told the beggars to move away and he just kept saying that "You are very kind, you are very kind" But let me tell you, I don't feel kind at all. Not with a hotel room full of food, snacks, and so much clothes, things, Ipod, PSP, computer, that I just couldn't live without for 11 days. It's just very real and it makes you think about your own life. Not that we should all live without anything because these people do, but what are we going to do to help these people to not continue to live this way.......

1st Ethiopia meal

Okay Okay, so I had pizza!!! What can you say, are you really that surprised? It was really good though and I even have left-overs for lunch today!

We've arrived!

I want to say thank you to all my friends and family for the calls,
emails and gifts before I left. It was fun having the phone ring off the hook
and having many of you stop by with last minute gifts for me!! You didn't
need to do that, I feel so cared about and loved! Thank you for caring about
me so much!! I've enjoyed the special treats for the plane ride too from
many of you!! You all are so awesome!!

Well.... we made it!! It started a little rough, but ended up great! We
left our house at 5:30am on Tuesday May 29th. First flight from MSP to
Chicago O'Hare was quick and easy. Then the long waiting began. We waited in
O'hare for 8 hours. Finally able to board our plane, we found out we needed to
wait for 40 others, but after an hour of waiting, decided to leave without
them anyway. But the late start made us miss our connecting flight to Addis
Ababa. We ended up waiting for 13 hours in Frankfurt, Germany. But the
best part of the waiting was when Melissa and I left the airport and went
downtown Frankfurt. We got out in the sunshine and walked all over the
place. It was so fun!!! And very needed!!! And I got another stamp in
my passport!!!
So, after 48 long hours of traveling, we finally made it to Ethiopia!!!
The flights went really well and didn't seem too long at all. When I got to
the airport in Ethiopia, I found out that one of my bags (the one with all
my clothes) was still in Frankfurt!! I was like, seriously?? We were there
for 13 hours.. you'd think they would of had time to put it on the plane.
Anyway, without stressing too much, I had to leave the airport without
it. Good news is only a few hours later I got a call saying it was here. So
back to the airport to get my luggage. So now all is well with the world!
Our first day is coming to an end! It's been good so far. We haven't done
much today. Slept a little, emailed, relaxed. Tomorrow is a full day of
shopping, buying meal tickets to hand out, and buying more donations to deliver!!
Thanks for all your love and support! I'll write again soon.
Here is a picture of downtown Frankfurt......

Monday, May 28, 2007

The time has come

December 11th, 2006 Matt and I sent our application to CWA to begin the process of adopting a little boy from Ethiopia. Less then six months later, I am about to get on a plane and fly to Ethiopia to meet our little boy for the first time.
I can't believe that this part of my journey is almost over. And the next part is about to begin. Reflecting back on this adoption, I realize that Matt and I have gone through a lot. We've been challenged many times as to why we want to do this, why now, why Ethiopia, just why? We've had to fight for our family over and over again. But, it's okay. It's been really good for us. We know our family is so worth the fight. We will continue to fight for each other and our children always.
We know that this is what God wants for our lives and we are walking in His favor.
I know I've said this before, but thank you for all of your wonderful support and for your understanding of who we are and why we make the choices we make. We appreciate you all so much. Your love and kindness does not go unnoticed!!!
Thank you!!! Thank you!! Thank you!!
I'm off to get our little boy......

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some of you have been asking for specific prayer requests while I am gone so I thought I'd write a few down......

To stay healthy so I can be at my best for taking care of Durant

To stay safe during entire trip

For Ana to do okay being away from Mom overnight for the 1st time ever

For Carter to have a great time with Dad and Ana

For Matt and the kids to be safe

For no major illness or emergency to happen to my family while I'm gone

To stay healthy ( I put this twice cause I really don't want to get sick while there)

For Durant and the huge adjustment he'll be making

For Durant on the l..o...n...g plane ride home

Thank you so much everyone!! I really appreciate your prayers, concern, love, and support throughout these last 5 1/2 months!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Thank you to all who donated!! I have so much stuff, the suitcase is stuffed full of wonderful things for the people of Ethiopia. Thank you also to all who gave cash donations. I will be purchasing meal vouchers to hand out to those in need and also purchasing medical supplies from the local pharmacy to be given to the orphanages located in Addis. You all have helped make a huge difference in the lives of these very special people. Ethiopia will always be apart of my son's heritage and I am so proud of my family and friends for caring about this special country!
Thank you so much!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Travel Plans

After a stressful couple of days, I've finally got all tickets figured out and ready to go!!!
Melissa and I will be leaving MSP at 9:05am Tuesday May 29th to Chicago than to Frankfurt, and finally landing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday May 30th at 8:25pm. (12:25pm WI time)

We will be leaving Addis on Thursday June 7th at 11:20pm (3:20pm WI time) onto Frankfurt, Chicago and then arriving at MSP on Friday June 8th at 4pm.

Thanks for all the emails of congratulations and prayers. Sorry if I haven't responded to them all. I've been a little busy, but please know that I read them all and appreciate the support!!
Thanks for praying for me while I'm gone. Please pray for not only safe travels, but also all of us staying healthy and a smooth transition for Durant!!!
Thank you so much!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Ana!! Thank you Emma!!!

Today Ana turns 2 years old!! It's amazing that she's already been home with us for 17 months. This little girl is amazing. She's so full of life and love!! She can't get enough of her brother and I'm sure she'll love having two brothers to wrestle around with soon!!
I can't have this day come without thinking about Emma (Ana's birth mom). I thank God for her and the amazingly courageous decision she made to place her little girl for adoption. I so wish I could tell her thank you and show her a picture of Ana and tell her that she's doing great. Maybe someday in heaven I'll get the chance.....

Happy Birthday Ana!! We love you baby!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Six Months

Today marks the date of 6 months of Ana being seizure free!! Each month, I quietly celebrate, but making it 6 months is very exciting!! Hopefully this means her medicine is working and she will outgrow the seizures. Either way, we know this little girl is a fighter. She could have easily died several times already in her short life. The other day I packed away her medical bracelets (the ones she wore both times while in the hospital for seizures). I used to keep them on her dresser in her room as a reminder to me how fragile life is, how fragile Ana's life is. But now, I put them away because I found it made me sad and it held me back. I don't need them to remind me how close we came to losing her. I just want to live in the moment with her. Not in the past or worrying about her future, but just live today with her!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Embassy Date!

We have an Embassy Date of June 5th!!! Thank you God!! I'm still working on booking tickets, but I'm hoping to fly out either May 29 or 30th and come back with our little boy on June 7 or 8th!!! So much to do right now and I just can't stop smiling!!!!
Thanks for all the support!!!

Carter is ready...

For the last two nights Carter has gone to bed on his brother's crib mattress with his brother's blanket and stuffed dinosaur. I think Carter is really excited and ready to meet his brother.....

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mini-Van Owner

Alright, alright, you can stop laughing now.
That's right, as of yesterday, we are now the proud owners of a Kia Sedona aka mini-van!!! We were never going to have a mini-van, but research and common sense told us we needed one. I have to say that I'm doing okay with it, a few tears shed. Of course my true love will always be the SUV, but for now this is where I am in life and this is the best fit for our family.
Last night, somewhere on my drive from my house to Walmart (I know, I'm getting cooler by the minute), it hit me..... Wow, I have three kids and I'm driving a mini-van and I'm only 28 years old, YIKES!!! When did I grow up?

You can still be cool and drive a mini-van, right?...............right?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bubble Wrap

I've been keeping all my supplies for Ethiopia in Durant's crib, which is in Carter's room. The other day I thought I'd better start looking through it to see what else I still needed to buy. While looking through my huge pile of supplies, the following conversation took place:

What in the world happened to my bubble wrap?

Carter: What, why?

Mom: It's all popped!!!

Carter: Oh yeah, I popped it.

All of it?

Carter: Yes

Mom: What am I going to do now, I was going to bring that to Ethiopia to pack the things I buy in so they don't break!!!

Oops.... I have some money, I could buy you some more.

Children keep us grounded or at least I should say mine keep me grounded. I have a bit of a tendency to overreact sometimes over little things. Carter (who is just like his dad) is awesome at showing me how to truly live life and to stay grounded. I love Carter's outlook on life. He doesn't freak out about the small stuff (certainly didn't learn that from me). So thank you Carter for reminding me to relax and enjoy life and reminding me that we can always buy some more!!!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you awesome mothers out there and the moms-to-be!!! It's crazy thinking that I have three children now! It's also kinda weird to think that I am celebrating Mother's Day without one of my boys. It makes me that much more excited to get on that plane and bring him home!!! It wont be long now!!!
Happy Mother's Day!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Facts about Ethiopia

Since we're in the waiting stage, I thought I'd take the time to share some information about Addis Ababa,Ethiopia. Addis Ababa is the capital and that is where I will be staying.

*Population: About two million people

*Addis Ababa lying about 8,000 ft above sea level is the third highest capital in the world

*The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 cents

* The Mercato is located in western Addis Ababa and is one of the largest markets in Africa offering an array of colors, aromas, costumes, produce and jewellery (totally hoping to shop there)

*It is the main trade center for coffee, the country's chief export, and for tobacco, grains, and hides (yes I will be bringing back a lot of coffee for Matt)

*It is 8hrs ahead of our time(WI)- You can check the clock to the right

*The weather is mostly highs of 70's or low 80's

*Since most of you know how much I like to "rough it" I will be staying at the Hilton. It's the second nicest hotel in Addis Ababa!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Update on donations list....

Since so many of you are interested in donating and have been asking me about it, I thought I'd give you a little update. So far to date, I have received.....
*Soccer balls
*Cotton balls
*Baby supplies (soap, lotion, shampoo)
*School supplies (pencils and notebooks)
*Rubber gloves
*Children's books
*Hand sanitizer

Some of you have asked for some more ideas:
*Jump ropes/double dutch too
*Diaper cream
*Monetary donations(I am planning on buying meal tickets to be handed out to the needy. This entitles them to one hot meal per ticket)
*More of any items I already have or anything else you can think of.....

Thank you all so much for your willingness to donate and to be apart of this journey. If it's possible, I'd love to have anything you'd like to send over by Sunday, May 20th. I thought I'd better start trying to pack all of these great donations!! Thank you again!! You guys are AWESOME!!!!!!

Thank You!

Thank you everyone for sending emails or phones calls of congratulations on Durant being our son!! We appreciate each and everyone of you!!! There were so many I thought it was easier to write you all one big THANK YOU!!! We feel very loved!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

He's Ours!!

That's right!! Durant Natnael Ness is our son forever!!! Thank you Jesus for keeping us in Your favor!!! I just got the call less then an hour ago saying our court date was a success!!! Yippee!!! Now we just wait to hear about an Embassy date that will tell us when we need to be there!!
Thank you everyone for all the prayers and support!!
I am so excited to be able to finally post pictures of my beautiful little boy.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Two Days until Court Date!!!

Our court date is on Tuesday!! Wow, I am so excited, nervous, and ready to have this part of the process over with. We should hear how it went either on Wednesday or Thursday of this week!! Those will be tough days to wait. Then I will only have about 4-6 weeks until I travel. Please be praying for Natnael, his birth mother, our family, and God's will in all of this on May 8th.
I will keep you updated!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Ethiopian Food

I've been asked several times about the type of food that is eaten in Ethiopia. So I thought I would try my best to explain it. The main and most important part of an Ethiopian meal is the injera. It is a thin crepe like flat bread that the meal is served on. To eat the meal pieces of injera are torn off and used to scoop up mouthfuls. Injera is unique to Ethiopia, from its distinct taste and main ingredient the Teff cereal. Teff is the tiniest cereal and used as a staple food only in Ethiopia.
Another favorite dish is called Doro Wat which is spicy chicken that has been slowly simmered in Berbere sauce.
There are many many other dishes that are made up of many meats, vegetables, and sauces. Hope that helps a little bit.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

One of those moments...

The other day I had a rather rough encounter with someone and it left me feeling hurt, sad, and just defeated. I'm not going to go into details, but as you can probably guess, it had something to do with our adoption.
As I was driving away from this situation I was feeling down and kept reminding myself that this is right, this is what God wants for us, and we are walking in His favor. Well when I reached my destination, I ran into my best friend (we don't live by each other), one of the few people in this world who really knows me and gets me. We got to talk for a little bit and I got to show her new pictures of Durant. Of course, she's super excited and thinks he's adorable. It was exactly what I needed.
And it was one of those moments where you just know that God is looking out for you and everything will be alright.